Silk-amyloid-mussel foot protein (SAM) hydrogels made from recombinant fusion proteins containing β-amyloid peptide, spider silk domain, and mussel foot protein (Mfp) are attractive bioadhesives as they display a unique combination of tunability, biocompatibility, bioabsorbability, strong cohesion, and underwater adhesion to a wide range of biological surfaces. To design tunable SAM hydrogels for tailored surgical repair applications, an understanding of the relationships between protein sequence and hydrogel properties is imperative. Here, we fabricated SAM hydrogels using fusion proteins of varying lengths of silk-amyloid repeats and Mfps to characterize their structure and properties. We found that increasing silk-amyloid repeats enhanced the hydrogel’s β-sheet content (r = 0.74), leading to higher cohesive strength and toughness. Additionally, increasing the Mfp length beyond the half-length of the full Mfp sequence (1/2 Mfp) decreased the β-sheet content (r = −0.47), but increased hydrogel surface adhesion. Among different variants, the hydrogel made of 16xKLV-2Mfp displayed a high ultimate strength of 3.0 ± 0.3 MPa, an ultimate strain of 664 ± 119%, and an attractive underwater adhesivity of 416 ± 20 kPa to porcine skin. Collectively, the sequence-structure-property relationships learned from this study will be useful to guide the design of future protein adhesives with tunable characteristics for tailored surgical applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • amyloid beta-peptides
  • bioadhesive
  • mussel foot protein
  • programmable material properties
  • protein materials
  • synthetic biology
  • underwater adhesive


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